Classic and Contemporary Poetry
THE LOVELINESS, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: Ah, what a long and loitering way
Last Line: Forever brightening.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Fairies; May (Month); Youth; Elves
AH, what a long and loitering way
And ever-lovely way, in truth,
We travel on from day to day
Out of the realms of youth!
How eagerly we onward press
The lovely path that lures us still
With ever-changing loveliness
Of grassy vale and hill:
Of groves of May and morning-lands
Dew-diamonded and gemmed with bloom;
With amber streams and golden sands
And aisles of gleam and gloom;
Where lovely little Fairy-folk,
In careless ambush, pipe and call
From tousled ferns 'neath elm and oak
By shoal and waterfall:
Transparent even as the stream,
The gnarled prison-tree reveals
Its lovely Dryad in a dream
That scarce itself conceals;
The sudden redbird trips the sight
And tricks the ear -- or doubtless we
With happy palms had clapped the Sprite
In new captivity.
On -- on, through all the gathering years,
Still gleams the loveliness, though seen
Through dusks of loss and mists of tears
That vainly intervene.
Time stints us not of lovely things --
Old Age hath still a treasure-store, --
The loveliness of songs and wings
And voices on before. --
And -- loveliness beyond all grace
Of lovely words to say or sing, --
The loveliness of Hope's fair face
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